Monday, October 21, 2013

Advance Ruling binding on both revenue and assessee; CBEC’s circular holding otherwise is invalid

Advance ruling is binding on Department as well as assessee; CBEC clarification holding contrary view and issued later in point of time, cannot annul advance ruling pronounced in favour of assessee

In the instant case the advance ruling was pronounced in assessee's favour, which was not challenged and became final. Later, on clarification being sought by some other person from CBEC, it issued a Circular holding a view contrary to order of Authority for Advance Ruling. The Department argued that view expressed in CBEC Circular was applicable to the assessee.

The High court held in favour of assessee with following observation:

1) In the instant case, the assessee himself had not sought any clarification from CBEC. A clarification sought for by some other person couldn’t bind the assessee for whom advance ruling was binding;

2) CBEC clarification, issued later in point of time, did not and could not have annulled advance ruling in view of provisions of section 96D(2) read with section 96E - Gras Impex (P.) Ltd. v. Commissioner of Commercial Taxes [2013] 38 65 (Karnataka)